Digital Retail

Technologies and Sustainable Business Models

The retail sector is exposed to many major challenges, not only due to technological innovations and the ongoing digitalisation. With the current COVID-19 pandemic and the measures imposed, revenues for many retailers have collapsed.

Retailers have been challenged by demands for online offerings and disruptions in supply chains. Consumers are now buying a broader variety of goods online, a trend that has been accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis, and has resulted particularly in a crisis for the smaller and non-grocery retailers.

These are threatened by this unprecedented crisis, whereas the major online global players are growing much faster than their smaller European retail competitors.

Key drivers shaping the digital future

At the same time, traditional boundaries between sectors are fading and fundamentally disrupt the retail sector. Customer expectations have shifted, as Analytics, Big data, Virtual Reality Technologies together with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning allows the analysis of customer behaviours in real time.

Individual offerings and customised customer journeys result in a customer centric approach. As in many other sectors, the trend towards a more collaborative approach is emerging, through which suppliers and retailers are collaborating to provide increased customer value.

The new digital customer is highly connected, mobile and online, willing to share experiences via social media platforms. As a result, an entire sector faces many disruptions.

Traditional sources of differentiation for retailers need to be reviewed, digital technologies utilised and new collaborative value chains of high operational efficiency established that are able to offer superior product/service value proposition.

CHALLENGES AND IMPACT

With this research cluster we aim to facilitate digital retail ecosystems and support retailers in their transformation. The concept of Omnichannel retail combines traditional offline retail with online retail using a range of digital technologies.

Established Business Models need to be revised as customer behaviour is changing.

Customers no longer prefer online or in-store purchasing but switch between channels to suit their own personal requirements.

Innovative digital technologies such as Internet of Things, Big Data, advanced analytics as well as augmented reality, novel payment systems and visualisation concepts can create a unique and individual customer experience.

We aim to create a coherent customer experience for Digital Retail by combining online and traditional offline retail to an integrated Omnichannel approach.

RESEARCH FOCUS

Digital transformation for retail requires factoring in a multitude of aspects and thus a multi-disciplinary perspective with a mix of analytical, technical and creative capabilities together with strategic thinking. The ability to collect, process and share large quantities of data has led to some fundamental disruptions in the design of business models. Aim is to create a coherent customer experience for Digital Retail by combining online and traditional offline retail to an integrated Omnichannel approach addressing the following 4 research themes:

  • Develop Digital Retail strategies with sustainable business models for the Digital Retail sector.
  • Examine approaches to increase the customer experience along the customer journey.
  • Investigate how technologies can be used to provide innovative Digital Retail services and create a unique customer experience.
  • Develop knowledge base on Digital Retail operations and analytics.

COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES

We will assist the Digital Retail sector through research and training. The research projects will develop new methods, concepts and technology implementations for retailers:

  • Facilitate an open, innovative Digital Retail Ecosystem that shares experiences, best practices and supports retailers to innovate and establish efficient and effective practices and sustainable business models
  • We research, evaluate and further develop set of Digital Technologies that can be applied in the Retail sector, these include Virtual and Augmented Reality, Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Payment Technologies, Sensing and IoT Devices, Blockchain and Digital Security approaches.
  • We develop Supply Chain and operation models and practices that increase the efficiency and flow within the value chain and offers a seamless customer experience that is tailored to many contexts.
Strategy
5
Develop sustainable business models and collaboration models for the Digital Retail sector.
Technology
5
Assess and Develop a set of Digital Technologies that can be applied in the Retail sector to accelerate the Digital Transformation.
Transformation
5
Develop Supply Chain and operation models and practices that increase the efficiency and flow.
…The Covid-19 crisis has essentially changed the interactions between customers and retailers – presenting us with challenges and huge opportunities. It is a truly transformative time for retail…
Markus Helfert

Meeting the Challenge

Digital has disrupted the entire sector and provides huge opportunities for retailers.

We help to develop sustainable business models for the digital retail sector and examine approaches to create a unique customer experience along every touch point of the customer journey through digital technologies and analytics, benefiting all types of enterprises in the retail sector.

  1. Develop sustainable business models and collaboration models
  2. Assess and Develop a set of Digital Technologies
  3. Develop Supply Chain and operation models and practices

Research Agenda

  • Develop sustainable business models for Digital Retail
  • Examine approaches and Digital Technologies to increase customer experience
  • Digital Technology Adoption and Transformation Roadmapping
  • Develop knowledge base on Digital Retail operations and analytics

List of Publications:

Scientific Publications
  • Gültekin Cakir , Rehan Iftikhar, Artem Bielozorov, Zohreh Pourzolfaghar, and Markus Helfert. “Omnichannel Retailing: Digital Transformation of a Medium-Sized Retailer.” Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases, (January 2021). https://doi.org/10.1177/2043886920959803.

  • Gültekin Cakir, Marija Bezbradica, Markus Helfert: The Shift from Financial to Non-financial Measures During Transition into Digital Retail – A Systematic Literature Review. BIS (1) 2019: 189-200
  • Artem Bielozorov, Marija Bezbradica, Markus Helfert: The Role of User Emotions for Content Personalization in e-Commerce: Literature Review. HCI (23) 2019: 177-193
  • Douglas Cirqueira, Markus Helfert, Marija Bezbradica: Towards Preprocessing Guidelines for Neural Network Embedding of Customer Behavior in Digital Retail. ISCSIC 2019: 35:1-35:6
  • Rehan Iftikhar, Zohreh Pourzolfaghar, Markus Helfert: Omnichannel Value Chain: Mapping Digital Technologies for Channel Integration Activities. ISD 2019
  • Douglas Cirqueira, Markus Hofer, Dietmar Nedbal, Markus Helfert, Marija Bezbradica: Customer Purchase Behavior Prediction in E-commerce: A Conceptual Framework and Research Agenda. NFMCP@PKDD/ECML 2019: 119-136

Researchers: